Alastair Clarkson resigns, Chris Fegan, David King tear up Hawthorn inquiry, Gillon MacLachlan reacts

Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan has once again taken aim at the AFL’s investigation into historic allegations of mistreatment of First Nations players at Hawthorn, calling it “deeply damaging and unfair”.

Fagan’s latest statement comes after Alastair Clarkson shocked the AFL by stepping down indefinitely as coach of North Melbourne due to the severity of the investigation.

Both Fagan and Clarkson have strongly denied all the allegations against them, with Fagan targeting what he claimed was a “deeply flawed process”.

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“I am saddened by my friend and colleague Alastair Clarkson’s decision to step down from his role at North Melbourne indefinitely,” he said in a statement.

“I’ve been lucky enough to work with Klarko for almost nine years, and I’ve known him longer than that.

“I know him to be a person of great character who has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the lives of the young men he has coached. The football community is infinitely better than Clarko.

“The deeply flawed process we have been subjected to has been deeply damaging, it has been deeply damaging and unfair.

“I hope it will be over very soon. In the meantime, Clarko’s physical and mental well-being must come first. I send my best wishes to him, (wife) Kerin and his family.

“Out of respect for Clarko, I do not intend to make any further public comments.”

Fagan wasn’t the only one to speak out in Clarkson’s defence, with Kangaroos great David King offering his own scathing assessment of the saga.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” King said of the SEN investigation.

“This should be a fair process. I’d say it was fair balls. To put this man in this situation… I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the truth given this process that we’ve gone down.

“I don’t know if Alastair will ever feel he has had the chance to clean up the reputation he has built up over four decades.

“They just slowly chipped away at this guy’s fabric.”

King claimed Clarkson was “not given a fair go in life” since the allegations were made public in the week of the grand final last September.

Alastair Clarkson takes aim at ‘disgraceful’ Hawkes over racism probe

“These allegations are appalling and he has not been afforded due process at any point since,” he said.

“The toll on him emotionally, physically, can he sleep at night, can he have a normal conversation without it getting in his head, the sheer exhaustion he’s been carrying day after day, and then trying to run. football club and managing 100 odd people day in and day out and still be the same man he was during his Hall of Fame years at Hawthorn would be almost impossible.

“The pressure cooker environment has obviously reached a point where it has exploded and I am devastated for Alastair and the North Melbourne Football Club today.”

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the league supported the four-time premiership winner’s decision.

“We understand how much the independent commission’s inquiry into allegations of racism has affected everyone involved, including Alastair, and we believe the inquiry must find a solution,” he said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

“It’s a heavy burden borne by all parties involved, and the well-being of everyone who is part of this process is a top priority at our game.

“It takes a lot of courage to stand up and say you need to focus on your own personal well-being and we support Alastair in doing what he needs to do in his and his family’s best interests. We will continue to support all parties.

“The AFL supports ongoing efforts to find a mediated outcome that ensures fairness and natural justice for all involved and encourages all parties to work towards a timely and fair outcome.”

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